I came back from vacation to find the S and K keys no longer working on my Logitech Illuminated Keyboard (yip, that's the model number). As a professional writer and touch typist, I need a good keyboard under my fingers. The definition of "good" is a keyboard that lets me type fast and accurately. I type over 120 words per minute -- almost as fast as people talk (160 words per minute, typical). Poorly-designed keyboards (like those super shallow ones on Surface-style tablets and thin laptops) make me miss keys and slow me down.
So Monday morning there was a rather urgent hunt for a replacement. I used a spare keyboard until I had time to get to the nearest store selling computer accessories. The spare, a Logitech K800, has mushy keys, slowing me down. It is a spare that I use with my spare computer. It is wireless, which means it takes up TWO USB ports: one for the transmitter dongle, and a second for the recharging cable. That was a bad purchasing decision!
I looked around on the Internet for keyboards, and saw that Logitech's G-series were recommended for having mechanical switches. ('G' is short for "gaming.") I hadn't used a mechanical keyboard in, oh, 15 years at least, when I gave my mechanical keyboard to my wife for her computer. It still works, clanking away as she types. In the meantime, I went through a half-dozen keyboards. Most wear out from me typing all day; some reach EOL (end of life) when I spill my ever-present tea on them, accidentally.
So I arrived at London Drugs (a regional pharmacy chain that also happens to sell prescriptions), and the helpful computer department salesman showed me his line of high-end keyboards in the back of the store. (The $20 ones are at the front on the other side of the anti-shoplifting gates.)
He picked out for me the Logitech G610, since it was over $100 (as I had requested) and had backlit keys that displayed only the color white, not waves of multi-color LEDs that gamers apparently need. This picture from Digital Trends does a good job of showing how tall the keys are, as well as the white backlighting:
After using it now for 24 hours, I find the keyboard lets me type fast and accurately, so that's good. It has media keys (volume, play, etc), variable brightness of the backlit keys, and a roller bar for changing the volume.
Now the bad:
- Mechanical keys tire my fingers, so this is probably a good workout for them!
- A silly design error reverses the location of punctuation. In the figure above, you can see the exclamation mark positioned below the 1.
- The G-series doesn't work with SetPoint, so I don't get the handy messages on the screen when I mute the volume or hit NumLock.
Instead, the G-series comes with its own utility software, garishly designed to apparently satisfy the visual needs of gamers. After poking around a bit, I found I could get it to disable the CapsLock key. The software also allows me to control each LED individually, so I turned them off for certain keys, like CapsLock and the never-used Windows menu key. It comes with presets that cause the LEDs to turn on and off in patterns, such as a wave crossing the keyboard. That feature I quickly nixed.
As my fingers get used to the new keyboard, I am liking it for its speed and accuracy. I just hope that the fingers eventually get some stamina from pressing mechanical keys!